13 September 2017
SAMRC showcases responsive medical research and innovation
Cape Town / JHB | The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) joins other innovative thought leading organisations at the upcoming Innovation Bridge to showcase technologies to reduce still births and identify risk for Achilles tendon injuries or anterior cruciate ligament tears, and to present more than a decade of evidence based research on the health benefits of the antioxidant aspalathin.
“We have invested in excess of ZAR 180 million into more than 35 responsive medical research and innovation projects ranging from early discovery to clinical validation”, says Dr Richard Gordon, Executive Director of the Grants, Innovation and Product Development Division of the SAMRC.
Umbiflow, a medical device currently being tested in Mamelodi, Pretoria, is showing significant promise in reducing antenatal mortality. Specifically developed for resource constrained health care settings, the Umbiflow gives health care practitioners such as midwives and nursing staff the ability to assess placental function for the health of the growing foetus. The measurements from the device are used to identify at-risk foetuses which are then recommended for specialist intervention. Approximately 20 000 stillbirths are documented each year in South Africa and results to date have demonstrated a 40% reduction in still births with routine use of the Umbiflow device in antenatal care.
Another innovation that will be showcased on 15 September 2017 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand Johannesburg is a genetic test known as the Sport Injury GeneScreenTM. The test identifies the presence of genetic risk factors for tendon injury that allow health practitioners to design improved interventions and management programmes to prevent injury and reduce exposure to modifiable risk factors that could lead to tendon and ligament injuries. The test is characterised by eight DNA sequence variants within five clinically useful genes that are associated with altering the risk of sustaining common tendon and ligament injuries.
“Taking innovative health care solutions to scale is about removing some of the obstacles that limit our people from leading the lives they have a right to”, says Dr Glenda Gray, President & CEO of the SAMRC.
Research documented over more than a decade has revealed that the antioxidant aspalathin, found in the rooibos plant, plays an important role in the management of conditions linked to glucose and lipid metabolism. The ingredient is known to decrease insulin resistance, lower cardiovascular risk factors and protect heart cells. The unique qualities of rooibos are presented at the SAMRC exhibition stand and reveal why discoveries such as this and investment into future research and development is an imperative.